The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Personal Narratives

We have been doing a lot of writing in my classroom this week! The writing activities are going to continue through the end of the year! Of course, we’ve actually done quite a bit of writing throughout the entire year, but most of it has been in response to literature or notes on informational texts. The writing we have done this week, though, has focused more heavily on planning, drafting,  editing, and revising, with a goal toward eventual publication.

We wrote timelines earlier in the week as a way of organising information and focusing on sequence. I led the class in creating a timeline together to show the major events of a normal day in school. Then the students worked in small groups to make timelines for any topic of their choosing. Some of them picked other days of the week, others made timelines for athletic competitions or other performances. One group decided to make a timeline about an upcoming zombie apocalypse and one enterprising group of girls, inspired by a comment made by me in jest a week earlier, decided to do a timeline for the major events in their takeover of the entire planet. Some of these events included “infiltrating the highest levels of government in the state of Illinois” and “releasing flying monkeys at strategic intervals.” I asked where they picked up such phrases and one of them just started giggling and said she got it from her dad.

Have I mentioned recently how much fun it can be to teach fourth graders?

I decided to build on our timelines activity today by having the students write short personal narratives about a day in the life of a fourth grader. We brainstormed a list of common events on a typical Saturday and then the students had 45 minutes to write about any typical day of their life from this year. I set the minimum expectation for writing at three paragraphs, with at least one paragraph each for the beginning, middle, and end of the day. After writing an initial draft, the students had to reread to look for errors and then have either a classmate or a teacher (I had a tutor helping out this morning) read it and offer suggestions. These personal narratives were put into writing folders at the end of the morning so that the students can work on them further during the coming week.

It is always fun to read students’ personal narratives and learn more about their own lives. I am looking forward to tying the writing activities of this week into the ones we will be doing next as we start our unit on westward expansion!

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